Day 3 of Our Torngat Trek – Episode 17

You know, I was really getting use to those big rocks, the grass and the mudflats of Torngat; but now the landscape is changing: a big cliff is in our way, and going all the way around it wasn’t in our initial plans.

The bushes are so high that they grow long past our waists, and the branches are so thick and stiff that they won’t bend to let us through. This slows us down quite a bit, but I know because we are not following a path this kind of change can easily arise, and from this moment on I have to say this happens much more often that I would have thought!

Struggling through bushes and mudflats, steep hills and big rocks, makes the hike quite challenging. The sky isn’t blue anymore and the wind picks up, blowing much harder. The rain starts to fall and my shell comes in handy in protecting me and my camera, we just started our third day of the trek and I really don’t want to loose anything—not camera, not the photos from this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Yet the rain isn’t so bad; we’re soaking wet but it’s helping to cool our bodies and speed up our pace.

Ironically, just as the rain starts to end the path gets tougher and tougher, and now I really begin to feel like I’m Mordor—you know…from The Lord of the Rings…and if you’ve seen the movies you get the point: the rocks start to appear blacker and darker, and you can see how the topography and weather have sculpted and shaped them over time: they have sharp edges, are almost blades, and spring from the ground almost vertically, with their edges making each step dangerous. Falling was not an option! And yet…the sharp black blades crack and shatter under our feet, as if they’re more like glass or ice than rock, putting a strain on my shoes and slowing down our pace.

Eli would hike with poles, and I have to say I used them too. Andrew did not! With all his weight, with the rifle, he would simply but carefully put one foot in front of the other, and even though his movements seemed slow to me in the field he would always be way ahead of us. Steep hills, rivers, rocks, bushes…Andrew’s pace never wavered, never slowed down, he is tough! Even with all my physical training trying to keep pace with him was hard. As for Eli—well, he is 57 years old, had a backpack heavier than mine, a rifle, ammo, food and a big, big tent—and I can say, keeping to his pace was also a real challenge.

On day 3, I got a good sense of how everything on a path can change in one single day: sun, wind, rain, hills, river crossings, bushes, and our first encounter with a bear! But this, dear reader, is for the next page of my diary. Should keep you guys hooked for a bit!